Counting What Matters

“Count the number of times you show up on your mat rather than counting the number of poses you can or can’t do.” 

Every now and then I rummage thru my yoga notes I’ve written during trainings and programs I’ve taken in the past. This one liner could not have come to save me at a more timely manner than now.

I’ve been a bad yogini!!

Lately the total of both of these counts can embarrassingly be counted on one hand while the rest of the fingers have been assigned to counting the number of days I’ve eaten birthday cake at 9pm. Sometimes yoga has to take a back seat while birthday marathons are taking place and sometimes unrolling the mat takes a back seat when the body resists and then goes to successfully bully the mind into thinking it’s best to keep it unrolled.

There were more but no pics were taken in order to hide the evidence lol

Starting tomorrow, the birthday cakes would’ve been all eaten up and there will be nothing else left to do but yoga.

Beginning Again

We all have to start some where…

It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been practicing.

It has nothing to do with how smart you are or

what poses you were able to do or not do

or how much green juice you drink or red wine you consume.

Who your God is, or whatever Higher being guides you and even if you don’t believe in any such things… it doesn’t matter one damn bit.

What matters is when you decide to show up…

and then you show up.

The rest works itself out. It always does.

Time to reset the counter!

Yoga:1      Distractions: 0


It’s Not About the Handstands, but…

It feels so dang good especially after sitting for hours on end on a hard bench watching your kid play one basketball game after another.


Let me be clear here, there’s a wall behind me and I only took my foot off the wall for the few seconds required for my friend to snap the pic… ugh the banana back following me like a shadow😉

I remember the year that I dedicated to handstanding. It was a goal oriented practice. One a day, either at the wall, with someone else, with a prop, or in a prep position to prepare for THE day that I could do it on my own for more than a few seconds. Well that got old and like any empty, soulless goal that had no meaningful purpose towards any greater good, it fell off my wagon because the promised benefits glory of handstanding for more than 5 seconds on my own was not that attractive anymore.

However, yesterday I was inspired by a new student who came back to yoga after a long hiatus due to pregnancy. She didn’t pop up into handstand (who knows maybe she could’ve if I taught it in my sequence) but she practiced with such presence and curiosity. I was overcome by awe as I looked out at my class and saw the varying levels of experience in front of me. Some have been practicing with me for several years and some a few months and it was this mama’s first practice with me… yet everyone was flowing together harmoniously and effortlessly.

A-ha moments!! 

Sometimes when I teach, I discover lots of aha moments or say something profound and life changing and other times I wish I could retract what I said the second it came out of my mouth but today I was reminded that the present moment, as corny as it sounds and repetitive as it is in the yoga world,  it is really the answer to our nagging questions, the confidence behind our doubts, the peace to our suffering…

I said something to the effect of, “it doesn’t matter if you’ve been practicing for years or just a few days or returning back to the mat for the first time again.. what matters is if you’re here right now, in this room right now, in this pose right now, in this breath right now.” For that second, I could hear a sigh of relief and a nod of agreement that sent a wave of calm thru the room like an invitation to set everything else aside and get present.

Today’s handstand (the first in a LONG time), required every ounce of my presence. A split second of doubt and a thought of anything else but hands on the earth and feet to the sky sent me sideways, butt in the camera, and legs everywhere but where they were suppose to be.


Today was not about the handstand. It was a reminder to get present… now staying present is another lesson waiting for me another day.

Look! Not touching the wall😉

Becoming An Advanced Yoga Teacher

Honestly, that is a senseless title. What exactly is an advanced teacher anyway?

listening attentively in YTT
listening attentively in YTT

On many occasions I’ve been asked by studio owners or managers to sub a yoga class for them because they were in a bind. If I couldn’t, I referred it out to some of the teachers I’ve trained or other teachers that I know. The first response I get from these employers is, “are they advanced teachers?” I reply, “of course! If I didn’t think they were qualified, I wouldn’t have suggested them.” Later on I find out that the employer did not like my preferred teacher because so-and-so didn’t have such-and-such years of experience.

Does the number of years practicing or teaching make one an advanced teacher?

It takes more than the right words, the right cues, and the right pose to teach a class.
It takes more than the right words, the right cues, and the right pose to teach a class.

I’ve been in many classes with a so called advanced teacher and left feeling unsatisfied, imbalanced, frustrated and even disempowered. On the other hand, I’ve also been in many classes with a so called less than advanced teacher and left wanting to come back.

So what makes an advanced teacher so “advanced?”

We have no business comparing our bodies to another person's body when there are differences between our left side and our right side within our own body.
We have no business comparing our bodies to another person’s body when there are differences between our left side and our right side within our own body.

I had the honor to mentor this new group of Yoga Teachers and have never been so touched, inspired, and loved by any others as I have by these yogis.

You know your teacher loves you when they are willing to put aside their differences and still choose to walk beside you on your own path.

Each one brought their own unique definition to what it means to be an advanced teacher. Here are twelve qualities, one for each trainee,  that would make every student feel ever so lucky to be in their class.

An advanced teacher:

  1. knows who they are and has the courage to be vulnerable so that they can share their voice, even if it’s shaky and especially if it is.
  2. is committed to all aspects of yoga which includes not only asana but also pranayama, meditation, and self reflection.
  3. knows how to give people space to reveal their expression of the pose instead of trying to stuff every student into an ideal pose.
  4. is skillful in creating purposeful, mindful, and accessible sequences that are challenging enough but also inclusive rather than complicated, fancy, or esoteric.
  5. is concerned about helping people find balance in their body and mind instead of succumbing to superficial goals.
  6. is curious about continuing their studies as a student and asking more questions to reveal the Truth that lies beneath the veil of practice.
  7. understands the rationale behind everything that they teach rather than trying to memorize the cues or the anatomy and reciting them back and if they don’t understand, they will seek the answer.
  8. loves connecting to their students as human beings and sees them beyond the surface of their asanas.
  9. is not concerned about looking good, being liked or popular.
  10. is able to share their own humility instead of teaching from a pedestal.
  11. is ever so patient and compassionate because they remember how difficult yoga was as a beginner.
  12. often “accidentally” makes a huge impact in their students lives not just because they read their books and passed their certification requirements but because they stood up tall and taught from a space of love… see #1.
Mountain Up!
Mountain Up!

Thank you trainees for sharing your yoga practice and especially for sharing your hearts with me. I feel very honored, lucky, and humbled that you choose me. I feel inspired by your willingness to be vulnerable in what started off as a group of strangers and now we walk away feeling like life long old friends. Thank you for being you… full of creativity, child like innocence, play, curiosity, passion, commitment, and especially full of HEART.


P.S. If a room full of 50 students who showed up to your first class doesn’t prove that you’re an advanced teacher, I don’t know what is.

Something amazing happens when there is trust between teacher and student.
Something amazing happens when there is trust between teacher and student.

Lessons from Yoga Teacher Training

What do you get when 12 students and 3 teachers get together for at least 15 hours a day for 9 days straight?

This is what you get:


They came to learn asana, the postures, their alignment and how to teach these postures to others but they got tears, laughter, joy, sadness, doubts, frustration, hope, break downs, misunderstandings, break throughs, friendships, possibilities, support, transformation, compassion, and love. Yoga is more than stretching, more than perfect alignment, more than a sweaty workout.


They got connected to each other and to themselves in ways that would not have manifested if I didn’t put them all in a pressure cooker for 9 days. Even though I was the lead teacher, my role and sole purpose is to not show them how badass I am but to show them how badass they are and how inspiring they will be are already as teachers.

I’d have to say this group of students has been the most committed group of trainees I’ve been with who are not afraid to look within and dig out the aspects of themselves that prevent their true light from shining through.

When a group is not afraid to walk the path of svadhyaya, the 4th niyama (observances) of the 8 limbed path of yoga, and dive into the process of studying oneself to gain a better understanding of one’s true Self or Atman, we all grow faster than weeds.

Here are some nuggets worth sharing in no particular order:

  1. Trust the process and stop trying to control everything.
  2. Be your own loudest cheerleader and believe in yourself as much as you believe in the people you cheer on.
  3. Illusions are everywhere such as in movement, alignment, life, success, confidence, etc. Find the Truth not to guilt trip or shame yourself but to help you transcend the bullshit faster.
  4. Many of us are barely surviving. We are a touch deprived society. You need at least 12 hugs a day to thrive, 8 hugs a day to maintain, and 4 hugs a day to survive.
  5. Keep an open heart and an inquisitive mind.There are never absolute answers to any question. The best answer to any question is “it depends.”
  6. Find mentors and teachers who inspire you, who support you, who love you but don’t put them on a high pedestal unless you want your heart broken. They are neither higher or lower than you and at some point they will disappoint you. Remember they are human too and it’s not so much what mistake they made but more about how they handled the mistake they made that will make them your hero.
  7. Listen to the people around you not only with your ears, but with your eyes and with your heart. Hear what they are saying and also what they aren’t saying for the fear of your rejection is strong. We are all vulnerable. Meet everyone with kindness and love.
  8. Consider that the assholes in your life are your best teachers and not all assholes are asses.
  9. To be the best teacher you can be, you must always sit in the seat of a student.
  10. Be willing to flow with the waves of change.
  11. Do your best. Don’t take anything personally. Don’t make assumptions.
  12. It’s ok to ask for help and guidance.
  13. When a broken heart bursts open, it beats louder and stronger than one thought it would and it’s ability to love becomes infinite.
  14. Teach from love.
  15. Teach deeply from love.

Thank you trainees for walking this path with me. I’ve learned a lot more than what’s on this list of 15 and I’m excited to take your class and be your student.

Combat Chaos with a Creative Flow

Let the holidays begin!

It’s that time of year when everyone’s talking about staying calm amidst the chaos and keeping things simple to survive the end of year shenanigans… everyone except me. No not I. I am creating chaos, causing a mess, doing too many projects at once while trying to save the world.

This is my life.  Everyday. Every week. Every month.

It’s been a full year of sorts and I would not go back and change a thing. Ok maybe I would’ve gone back to create more time for more blogging. It’s been a long time since I posted and mainly because I was not inspired to share my chaotic life. However today I was inspired to share this creative sequence that happened out of the clutter surrounding me. It’s an example of the mess I create. As if the holiday season was not enough, I decided to re-do our family room. As a result all the junk got moved into my yoga room and before I could use the mess as an excuse to not practice, I turned on some happy music, embraced the situation and went with the flow.

Peace begins with me.

I am instantly reminded that peace begins with me and that I can choose to flow thru life smoother than the chaos that life will throw at me. Moving around on my mat in this way also reminded me that the best way to navigate chaos is to step outside the boundaries and if all else fails, join the chaos.  Join me in this non-linear, no mat boundaries, messy yet controlled, creative and graceful kinda sequence.

So much fun! Let me know if you try the sequence:

  1. upward salute (sun salutation A to down dog)
  2. Right leg crescent lunge with side bend to revolved crescent lunge
  3. warrior 2 to reverse warrior 2
  4. side angle to 3 legged down dog
  5. star fish (side plank variation; pick up the front leg for more intensity)
  6. IT band stretch with push ups and then with thread the needle
  7. wide leg seated straddle forward fold
  8. IT band stretch with push ups on left leg
  9. half pigeon (stay upright instead of laying torso down) / mermaid
  10. seated twist or gomukhasana
  11. eka pada koundinyasana 1 or side crow, come back to counter open face seated twist)
  12.  half moon standing on right leg
  13. crow pose
  14. standing forward fold
  15. upward salute
  16. Repeat 1-15 for left side

p.s. hold each pose for anywhere between 5-8 breaths or whatever your heart desires.